Andrew Meslin, a lifelong soccer player and current junior at St. Augustine Prep partnered with the club this past year. He created Cleats for Camden, which helps to redistribute gently used soccer cleats to the children of Camden that may have limited access to proper gear.
“I was cleaning out the garage one day with my dad and I noticed we had so many old but still usable soccer cleats. I wanted to be able to donate them to soccer players that can really use them. I thought of contacting clubs abroad but then I thought, what about a club right here in South Jersey that may be struggling financially? That was when I reached out to the Camden Youth Soccer Club,” Meslin said.
The Club was thrilled to partner with him and that was when his mission began. Meslin has spent the past few months collecting cleats from a variety of organizations such as local soccer clubs, his former elementary school, St. Mary of the Lakes, and spreading the word on various social media platforms.
In addition to the cleats, he decided to go a step further and create his own Go Fund Me page to assist the club. The Club mentioned how much they rely on donations from the community for any new equipment the club may need for the season, such as new nets, balls, and even uniforms.
That was when he knew he wanted to try and help with this effort as well. Once he heard that the club relies on donations, he started his monetary collections to further aid his cause. His Go Fund Me page has raised over $350 and is still up and running. He is excited that his fundraising efforts will directly help children of Camden that love the game of soccer.
Last Saturday, Meslin met with Gerald Van Wilgen, President of the Camden Youth Soccer Club and was able to donate all that he has collected. The Club relies on individual and corporate donors to help run their programs, and Van Wilgen was overjoyed at what Meslin accomplished in such a short period of time.
“Thanks to Andrew, children of the Camden Youth Soccer Club will directly benefit from his generous donations”, said Van Wilgen.
Given the success of the grassroots project, Meslin has become motivated to continue his mission and foster a long-term commitment to the club.
“I plan to keep this partnership going for seasons to come. Being able to give back to a local community in need has been so rewarding. The commitment and desire to help from others has been overwhelming and I am looking forward to the future of the project,” Meslin stated.